By Jonah Bronstein
Greater Niagara Newspapers
— Crystal DeLuke has packed on 35 pounds since meeting her future husband seven years ago.
And she’s never looked better.
DeLuke, 26, claimed the overall figure championship at the Ms. Buffalo competition in April. DeLuke’s fiancé, Ron Primerano, trained her for the show, which was DeLuke’s first competition.
Figure is a sport similar to bodybuilding, though greater emphasis is placed on aesthetics and symmetry than muscle mass.
The couple live in Wheatfield and plan to marry in August. They met in the fitness room at Fredonia State. At the time, DeLuke weighed less than 100 pounds, frequently ran on the treadmill for over an hour and only lifted weights that were coated in rubber.
Primerano, a former four-sport athlete at LaSalle High School who discovered the iron game at a family gym in Dunkirk, approached the petite co-ed and turned on the charm.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
Not exactly the most romantic how-we-met story. But DeLuke was interested in what Primerano had to offer.
“I knew that her obviously knew what he was doing, because he was built so well,” she said. “The first thing I noticed about him was his body.”
Primerano taught DeLuke how to train (she now pulls almost 300 pounds off the floor) and how to properly feed her muscles, allowing her to put on 35 pounds of lean body mass.
“I was just a skinny runner without an ounce of muscle,” DeLuke said. “And he turned me into a figure competitor.”
DeLuke, who was born in Niagara Falls but moved to Attica prior to high school, said winning Ms. Buffalo was her greatest accomplishment to date. It’s also the high water mark for Primerano’s personal training business, which operates out of Summitt Fitness Center. Another of Primerano’s client, Niagara Falls’ Colleen Palmeri, is the reigning Ms. Buffalo bodybuilding title.
“There are only two Ms. Buffaloes,” Primerano said. “That I trained them both gives my business that added credibility.
“... Their goal was to win a show. I have many women who come to me and say they just want to lose 10 pounds. I say, ‘OK, but I think you can lose 20.’ Reaching a goal is a win for me. I can train anybody that has a goal.”
Primerano qualified for USA Junior Nationals by winning the open heavyweight and novice classes at the 2006 Ironman Classic bodybuilding competition in Syracuse. But he said seeing his clients win titles was more fulfilling than winning himself.
He’s especially proud his future wife, as much for winning the competition as her dedicated preparation. As a pharmaceutical sales representative, DeLuke often finds herself entertaining clients in restaurants, politely passing on gourmet meals.
“Crystal is the most dedicated client I’ve ever had,” Primerano said. “She didn’t take one bite of something she wasn’t supposed to eat for 16 weeks (leading up to the competition).”
Following the victory, DeLuke and Primerano enjoyed a celebratory “cheat” meal at Denny’s. DeLuke, who had dieted down to an absurdly-lean 111 pounds, guiltlessly devoured a bacon cheeseburger and fries.